parenting · Uncategorized

5 Dilemmas Faced by the “Bad Cop” Parent

Let’s get real. Nobody WANTS to be the bad guy. Everyone wants to be liked, and no parent wants to always be the “bad cop” in the family.

Between my husband and myself, I am definitely more of a bad cop than he is, but my children are fortunate because he will put his foot down and can be the bad cop when necessary. In fact, because he isn’t a bad cop as often, I think at times when he does play the bad cop role, it can make more of an impact on them.

Most days, he’s the good guy (and also a great dad). But sometimes I want to be the fun one. I want to let my hair down and be wild. And sometimes I actually do – I give myself permission to have fun and let my children see that side of me. But more on that later.

First of all, here are 5 dilemmas I see as a “bad cop” parent, being the one who sees themselves as the voice of reason, who wants to teach responsibility, who knows kids need boundaries and that discipline is a form of caring:

  1. It’s tiring. Always being the one who has to settle the arguments, squash the complaining, get everyone to clean up and do their part, get the homework done, guide better choices, encourage better eating habits – while you know it’s the right thing, man are you exhausted.
  2. You’re the bearer of bad news.big part of the “bad cop” parent’s role is to say NO. The good cop parent typically gets to be the good guy and almost always says YES. But children can’t be allowed to do as they please 24/7. That would result in an entitled brat of a child. (Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory comes to mind.) So you enter the room and set the record straight that “no, you can’t have some more junk food or you won’t be able to sleep tonight,” and “no you can’t binge watch YouTube videos for hours on end.”
  3. Parenting is so much harder when a good cop is in the room. I can take my girls somewhere or be at home with them alone, and have NO issues. They know where I stand on just about everything and know not to test. But if we are in a situation where a good cop is in proximity – sometimes it can be their dad but it’s often another family member – they will test! My youngest especially. She will do things that she would NEVER EVER do if it were just she and I. She becomes bold and spunky and defiant and sometimes it breaks my heart. We can be in public and I will ask her to leave something alone that belongs something else and she will keep messing with it and just look at me. The other family member will say it’s ok, that she is fine, she is “not hurting anything.” One night this week she was lying on our set of bleachers and kicking the bleachers, shaking everyone in our section. I asked her to stop and the other family member said it was ok. At that point I just need to leave the room! It leaves me feeling disrespected by my child and the family member.
  4. The right thing and the easy thing are rarely the same. It’s easier to let kids play on their tablet for two hours straight, and easier to let them eat whatever they want. Currently I’m exercising bad cop mode on both of these issues. As I type this, my girls are not allowed to have any screen time for the next two hours, AND I’ve turned down their request for cookies and chips. I told them they could grab some cut fruit from the fridge if they’re really hungry, and they are working on rainbow loom bracelets at the moment. What’s nice though, is despite the moaning and complaining that may ensued at first, they are enjoying making their bracelets and love apple slices. It’s that initial moving past not getting their way in the moment where the tension strikes, the protesting happens, and where I could see the good cop caving in. 
  5. We do it to ourselves. I really think so. My husband and I are so like-minded on how children should be raised, I often wonder if I would just keep my mouth closed, if he would chime in, say NO, and take care of the issue. Bad cop parents (or at least it is true for me) are quick to squash the dilemma that it could be the other parent doesn’t have an opportunity to address it. I am a quick reactor and decision maker, and have a lower tolerance for discord and misbehavior than he does. So I naturally nip it in the bud so we can get on with things and the issue doesn’t gain momentum. For this reason, things won’t likely change, and if my control freak tendencies get the better of me, like they have I the past, I suspect “bad cop” will continue to be the dominant role I play in our family.

The good news is, I think our children are going to turn out great. They have my husband’s calm and laid back demeanor modeled for them on a daily basis. They see the ease at which he goes about everything. They also will for sure know the difference between right and wrong, They will who know how to behave in public, eat healthy, resolve conflicts and grow up to be responsible, well-mannered, resilient adults.

Our girls will hopefully look back and see that there were times when their mom and their dad played each of these roles: bad cop and good cop. Playing the bad cop isn’t easy, and somebody has to do it, but it doesn’t always have to be one person.

 

kids · parenting

4 Rituals to Manifest a Snow Day

Whether or not you believe in legends, superstitions or rituals, they are just downright fun, especially when trying to conjure up a snow day.

Here are 4 rituals for you to try:

1. Wear your pajamas inside out.

2. Put a spoon under your pillow.

3. Flush ice cubes down the toilet.

4. Put a white crayon in the freezer!

Bonus: We have also read to brush your teeth with the opposite hand!

Sleep tight and hopefully you will wake up to your snow day!

Do you know any other snow day rituals? Have any of them worked for you? We would love to know. Please share in the comments!

And once you’ve had your fun in the snow, check out my post on fun indoor play ideas.

foodie · kids · natural lifestyle · parenting

Big Kid Favorites at Aldi

I have two girls, ages 6 and 10. One is a picky eater and the other is a foodie. When I announce we are going to Aldi, they both chant “yay!” because they know good food is on the way.

Here are some of our favorites:

1. Fruit. Berries, Honeycrisp apples, grapes, mandarins, whole pineapples and kiwis are some of our faves. Many of them organic. Great prices.

2. Cheese. My picky eater loves the spiral string cheese (cheddar and mozzarella). We also grab her a ball of mozzarella. My foodie girl loves Havarti, Gouda, Muenster and especially blue cheese crumbles.

3. Meats. My picky eater loves the bite-sized salamis and smoked turkey. She also loves their Dino nuggets which has one of the best ingredient lists I’ve seen. My big girl loves the smoked salmon, capocollo, sopressata, and prosciutto. We grab mussels for her from time to time too.

4. Pasta. We love their pasta shells. There is just something about them that is better than what you can get a Walmart. Maybe it’s the pretty bag and great price? They also like any of the raviolis in the refrigerated section. Five cheese is our current fave. Mushroom is good too!

5. Drinks. Both girls love the Pineapple Orange juice and Mango Orange juice. They also like the Kiwi Strawberry drink pouches. The mini water bottles are perfect to grab and go for sports.

6. Snacks and treats. Dark chocolate peanut butter granola bars are delicious and all natural! We love the cookies and cream ice cream. We alternate between the “go go squeeze” type of applesauces and the cups. Both are good. We are also loving the sea salt caramel chocolate chunk cookie dough.

parenting

Teaching Kids to Behave in Public

 

Do you bribe your children to be good in public?

I definitely do. I’ve seen a huge turnaround in Madeline’s behavior since I started intentionally talking to her about where we are going and painting a clear picture for her of what her behavior should look like BEFORE we go in each place we visit (inside voice, walking not running, no begging, complaining or whining, no running away).

That word “before” is so key. We sit in the car for an extra minute and talk about how she should and should not behave before EACH place we visit. Do it every time. After a few days it will just become habit to have these chats and you’ll be motivated to keep doing it when you see the improvement!

Then we talk about what she will earn as a reward. Something small. It doesn’t take much to put a smile on her face.

Since I started doing this consistently she is becoming really fun to shop with!

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This morning we went to Kohl’s, Target, Office Depot, Clothes Mentor and Walmart. The outing cost me this fluffy pillow that I was planning to get her anyway ($4.88 at Walmart) and half a chocolate chip muffie from Panera…I got the other half.

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If at any point on the outing she forgot, I could just say “fluffy pillow” or “muffie” and see a total 180. People around us probably thought her name was Muffy today. 😂